It took us a while to find the entrance to Hai Di Lao @ Clarke Quay (a lift tucked in a corridor), but better late than never! The famous steamboat chain from China is well-known for its mala soup base, quality ingredients, stellar service and notoriously long queues. In Singapore, the chain has gone from strength to strength, opening its second outlet at 313 Somerset.
To avoid waiting for hours, I made reservations 3 weeks in advance for Sunday lunch. Upon stepping out of the lift, we were impressed with the superb service. Staff greeted us with enthusiasm and led us to our table. Along the way, I was drawn towards the manicure room (complimentary service) and board game tables. Snacks are provided free of charge and a children’s playroom is available to occupy kids as well.
The restaurant itself is nicely decorated in black and red. Once seated, the waitress assigned to our table handed us aprons, spectacle cleaning cloths and ziploc bags to protect our mobile phones. For ladies with long hair, a hair tie is provided.
We ordered a double-flavour hot pot comprising of Mala spicy broth and Chicken soup ($22).
We ordered the following in full portions (half portions also available) on the IPad. The food was faultless and oh-so-fresh.
Golden Pomfret ($19), Black Pork ($16), US Beef Slices ($18) and Handmade Shrimp balls ($16).
Fish balls ($8), assorted mushrooms ($18), fried tofu skin ($10), potato slices ($4), bamboo shoots ($7), lettuce ($6) and Chinese Cabbage ($4)
Kung Fu Noodle performance with rock music. Very entertaining!
Watermelon slices and Chilled Almond Beancurd from the buffet counter.
Service was attentive, prompt and efficient, a standout from many other casual restaurants in Singapore with splotchy service standards. What impressed us is Hai Di Lao is the ability to manage crowds well. Our bill totaled to $203 for 4 pax after tax and service charge. Pricy hey, considering you’ve gotta cook yourself.